Recently I have noticed that homophobia in the CIS countries has another interesting and scary side. It’s expressed in the fact that those who accept or tolerate homosexuality, or are homosexual themselves, avoid talking about domestic issues of same-sex relationships. They fear that the society, who is mainly intolerant, will use any negative information as an argument against them. Therefore, gay and lesbian people in Russia and CIS countries are trying to prove to everyone that they are “good”: young, creative, educated and wealthy.
Gays and lesbians try to convince themselves and others that they are not just the same as all the rest, but even better, more “right”. In the long run, it seems that they try demonstrating all positive qualities to prove that the society should love them and finally stop witch-hunting. This is certainly not their fault, but rather their misfortune. Homosexuality in our countries is such a stigma that many simply can not afford to declare, for example, the idea of remaining a child-free person.
Let’s consider for example the problem of violence in same-sex couples. To be even more precise, in a lesbian relationship. They don’t talk about it at all. Although in German-language sources I found the notion that violence in a lesbian couple occurs probably almost as often as in a heterosexual couple. Here, too, one can be beaten, humiliated, raped or killed.
Still, I was surprised to read today, that a Russian radical feminist – a person who, in theory, should be more sensitive to any manifestation of violence – just sneered at the woman who confessed that she was raped. She probably was not realising herself she compiled all of the most popular sexist quotes, while was claiming at first that lesbians never rape and later asking to describe the act of rape with a spiteful comment “homophobes have already bated their breath in anticipation and have unbuttoned their pants”. Furthermore, after a detailed description of the rape, she continued convincing the victim that only men can be violators, and if a lesbian rapes, she is not a lesbian at all, as she is too much “masculine”.
I think this is another kind of sexism, which is, nevertheless, exactly the same as the old one. Because it’s still driving us into cliches and makes us believe that men or women are defined by nature. Because “all men are rapists, and all rapists are men”, and because “a lesbian, a woman, is not able to perform violence, which leads to a logical conclusion that all women are not able to perform violence”.
That’s why lesbians, raped or beaten by their own female partners, remain under the double yoke of sexism – from the homophobic public as well as from their own, or tolerant to homosexuality, compatriots.
It is unclear what can be done about it. Or rather it is obvious that we have to open our eyes to the fact that we are really the same – not better and not worse just because our sexual orientations are different. But how to remove those rose-coloured glasses, when without them the surrounding reality looks even more hostile? Are homosexuals themselves ready to get rid of these cosy illusions for a common cause in the fight against sexism, and thus, against homophobia?
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Translated by MA